NEWS | May 10, 2016

USSTRATCOM, Australia continue partnership, discuss satellite communication agreements

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) senior leaders hosted Royal Australian Navy Commodore David Greaves, Australian Chief Information Officer Group strategic communications branch commander, at USSTRATCOM Headquarters, May 6, 2016, as part of the command's ongoing effort to build, sustain and support partnerships with ally nations.

While here, Greaves held discussions with Kerry E. Kelley, USSTRATCOM command, control, communications, and computers (C4) director, regarding the status of current satellite communication memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the U.S. and Australia, and potential opportunities for further collaboration.

"The MOUs are a realization of our relationship," said Greaves, who stated that Australia was the first foreign country to fully fund a military satellite in a U.S. space constellation.

Recognizing the need to produce collectively and field technologically superior military satellite communication systems, the U.S. and Australia signed an MOU, Nov. 14, 2007, concerning the joint production, operations and support of Wideband Global Satellite Communications (WGS). Although the U.S. and Australia have many agreements, Greaves noted that the WGS MOU is principally important.

"What we get from an Australian perspective is guaranteed access to a range of the capabilities of the [satellite] constellation," Greaves said. "We can operate globally focused over Australia and the immediate environment around Australia, but we also get global reach over that capability of the MOU."

U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander, also commented on the continued alliance between the U.S. and Australia and the importance of the MOU.

"It reaffirms the strength of the U.S. - Australia partnership and our shared commitment to combating regional and global threats and overcoming communication challenges," said Haney. "The agreement enhances the ability of both our nations to achieve our national and mutual defense objectives by increasing satellite communications capability and promoting interoperability, which directly impacts the warfighter."

While the U.S. and Australia have worked together since WWI, Greaves stated that May 6 marks a significant day in the two countries’ history.

"Today marks the ‘Battle of the Coral Sea Day’ in Australia, when Australian naval forces, U.S. naval forces, and our Air Force turned back a Japanese invasion force that was going toward Papua New Guinea," Greaves said. "That’s a major event for us in regards to that relationship [between Australia and the U.S.]."

Greaves also noted the benefits to the U.S.

"You use our network to transport data from the United States across our network to the joint facilities in Australia," said Greaves. "Where we sit in the world is geographically important and we provide access to the United States and continue to share these sort of arrangements."